State Senate Candidate Craig Wilcox Announces He Will Not Take a Pension, If Elected

State Senate Craig Wilcox sent the following press release:

Wilcox Pledges to Refuse Legislative Pension

“How do we tell [future employees] that we expect them to enter into a pension system that has
every likelihood of being insolvent by the time they choose to enter into retirement?”

Chicago, Illinois – August 22, 2018 -​ Craig Wilcox, a candidate for State Senator in Senate District 32, and an independent leader going to Springfield to fight for the taxpayers, signed a pledge to refuse a legislative pension once elected.

The pledge was developed by economic policy journal Wirepoints.com.

Craig Wilcox

Wilcox was joined by Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski, State Representative and former conservative candidate for governor Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine), and a coalition of other reform candidates.

Wilcox talked about how McHenry and Lake County legislators have been leading the way by declining to enroll in the state pension system.

When voters elect the right candidates on Nov. 6, 2018, “there is a very likely possibility that every legislator representing McHenry County either will have already declined the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) pension or will have promised to decline the pension.”

With the additional pension reform work done while Wilcox has been on the McHenry County Board, he also stated, “someday soon, I hope to be able to say that McHenry County will have zero legislators and zero county elected officials participating in any state pension program.”

He went on to address the unfairness of failing to take action on the pension crisis, noting retirees, state taxpayers, current employees and future hires are all impacted.

“For those graduating college to become teachers, or graduating police academy… how do we tell them that we expect them to enter into a pension system that has every likelihood of being insolvent by the time they choose to enter into retirement,” Wilcox asked.

“We must change the path that Illinois is on.”


Comments

State Senate Candidate Craig Wilcox Announces He Will Not Take a Pension, If Elected — 28 Comments

  1. Getting a military pension does not prevent one from getting a pension from a public body in Illinois.

    Goodness knows Chicago police and fire officials who serve in the General Assembly get two pensions when they retire.

  2. Literally nothing prevents all of these “I’m not going to take a pension because I already have one.” And?

  3. His opponent however will be a double dipper keeping her govt. job at the township as assessor while being a State rep if she were to win.

    NO THANKS.

  4. He should also probably clarify why he is getting the disability benefit.

    Many times someone gets disability because they can’t do their previous occupation, which may be something that is strenuous, such as firefighter or military service, but they are allowed to still do other things while collecting the benefits.

    Not everything is like Social Security disability where you have to be unable to do all forms of work and can’t make over a small amount in even part time jobs and keep the benefits.

    His opponent is trying to make hay off his disability pension by sending people to county board meetings to make public comment.

    He ought to fully explain the whole thing and also reveal that he doesn’t need the GA pension but also doesn’t need to give up what he is getting if he works as a legislator.

    Anything less is not full disclosure and leaves a false impression.

  5. **Getting a military pension does not prevent one from getting a pension from a public body in Illinois.**

    Sure, but it also makes it much easier to refuse a pension when you already receive a pension.

    The precedent that we’re setting of a purity test that legislators must reject their pension is dangerous, and will lead to a situation where only rich, wealthy people, or those who are lucky enough to already have a pension, can be a legislator.

  6. We could use help from a national level.

    Just as $10,000 cap on deductibility of SALT is thought to discourage unsupportable local tax rates,
    just as ‘Medicare For All’ (and ‘All’ had better mean ALL) may defang panjandrums’ power derived from demanding deliberately misleading, economically destructive public employees’ publicly-funded, overpriced health insurance premiums….

    public employees’ pensions could be incentivized to switch from ‘defined-benefit’ to ‘defined contribution’ with a stroke of the tax code pen:

    limit deductibility of contributions to defined benefit plans.

  7. We are already at the point Alabama where only the rich can afford to run for office.

    My point is that if you are going to climb up on your high horse and announce that you will magnanimously “not take a pension”, you ought to also reveal that you don’t need one.

  8. **My point is that if you are going to climb up on your high horse and announce that you will magnanimously “not take a pension”, you ought to also reveal that you don’t need one.**

    Yup… The next sentence after “I won’t take a pension,” should be “I already have one government pension.”

    **We are already at the point Alabama where only the rich can afford to run for office.**

    We’re not quite there, but we’re approaching it. There are many legislators in Springfield who are not rich, or anywhere close to it. But its getting harder and harder.

  9. No elected official should get a pension it’s ridiculous given the state of our economy and same with federal office holders.

  10. “Need” is a subjective term.
    Double/triple dipping is an objective term.

    If double/triple dipping by ‘retired’ public employees obtaining pensions were prohibited:

    1. More jobs for other people who are not as likely to be ‘patronage’ hires.

    2. Less burden on property taxpayers (thus, a boost in perceived value of real estate in Illinois).

    3. Economic incentive for risk-taking investors to locate/stay in Illinois (as opposed to TIF-paid insiders).

  11. Only rich people can be a legislator?

    The members of the General Assembly make ~$68k/year with a lot of perks and a chance to make even more if they chair a committee or have a leadership role.

    That’s pretty good cash for a part time job that leaves plenty of free time to pursue another occupation.

  12. A colonel military pension plus medical benefits, plus a 70/100 disability pension, plus 100% IL property tax exemption.

    This probably totals a couple hundred K per year.

    Yes he probably should refuse to take a 3rd pension from the same constituents.

  13. Yes, Craig took a page out of the Jack Franks playbook by attacking pensions while not revealing that he already has one.

    That’s a disappointment.

  14. From talking with County Board Members they have said that being on the County Board without question could be a full time job.

    Are there County Board Members who don’t do the work?

    Ask your County Board Members.

    Who sat down and read the last packet for the County Board and understood the whole packet?

    They gave up a minuscule pension that they would have received for 10 yrs of service.

    Jack Franks will be getting a $55,000 pension with a 3% increase every year til he dies if he starts taking his pension starting in October when he is eligible.

    He may not start taking it but he will at some point.

    County Board Member John Jung who is running for re-election is taking his pension while he collects a pay check and health benefits.

    Does Don Kopsell get 4 extra years of IMRF for being on the County Board.

    So when Wilcox says he is not taking the Pension that is a good start for people that are going to be representing the taxpayers in Springfield!

    But the bigger question is what are his policies not if he takes disability.

    Did you ask that of Senator McConchie or Tammy Duckworth?

    If you are in the Military no matter what your job if you can’t pass the physical fitness test you either get out on a medical discharge or if over 20 years you retire.

    I think Wilcox’s is a knee or hip?

    Does anyone know?

    Also look at the people in government. Were they rich before they went in and if not how much wealthier are they.

    Some of the staggering amount of wealth that is gained by being a politician is incredible.

    What are the most desired committees at the County Board to make things beneficial to someones own self preservation?

    Leading Finance and Transportation.

    All the money that flows through the County ends up through these committees.

  15. **That’s pretty good cash for a part time job that leaves plenty of free time to pursue another occupation.**

    There aren’t a ton of jobs where you can take 4-5 months off every year.

  16. A good argument can be made that people in elective office, as opposed to government employees or military, ought not to receive pensions, especially when most of the voters aren’t ever going to be eligible for them.

    However, full disclosure is a requisite to credibility on this issue.

  17. He is a great candidate and we need him elected to office.

  18. @AlabamaShake

    Many of the reps manage to maintain law practices, and there are lots of other things that can be done with that free time depending on skill set – sales, consulting, contract work…..

  19. The easiest and best solution to the conundrum of pensions for elected officials is TERM LIMITS.

  20. All public pensions should be move into 401Ks and contributed by the worker. Period!

  21. Agreed Lani.

    This change could be helped along by national policy disallowing tax deductions for ‘defined benefit’ contributions.

  22. @Known Extremist So as long as you go after every disabled person whether they are a veteran or private sector.

    What is there disability and what % does the government pay you for your disability?

  23. Guess you need to run for the Illinois General Assembly, because that is where the change would have to come from.

  24. @sayitaintso: It appears to be a favorite tactic of local Democrats to try and take advantage of the public’s ignorance on different types of disability programs and imply that if anyone is receiving any type of disability they are somehow trying to “scam the system” by running for a public office.

    Many types of disability payments do not require 100% disability from all forms of employment.

    Paul Serwatka, for example, received disability benefits from his fireman’s job because he can not longer be a fireman. That doesn’t mean he can’t to a sedentary job, whether full or part time.

    Some programs can continue to pay full benefits even if someone is working full time so long as it is not in the previous occupation.

    Some, like VA disability, also have ratings for less than 100% that allow for partial payments for partial disability.

    Social Security disability, however, doesn’t allow that and this is what comes to mind to most people when they hear the word “disability”.

    This is particularly ironic given that the Democrats are supposedly the party that is more supportive of people with disabilities.

    I have not seen these types of tactics so far from Republicans, as least not on the local level.

  25. @Known I agree and know what you are saying in regards to disability.

    There are many types and depends on circumstances.

  26. Oh and don’t forget it’s great not to pay property tax on a half million dollar hoise in Martin woods.

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